ACTION ALERT: Address the Costs of Endless, Unwinnable, Illegal Wars
November 12, 2017
Matthew Hoh / Win Without War & Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) / US House of Representatives & Hon. Elizabeth Warren / US Senate
$5.6 trillion, with no end in sight. That's the cost of America's wars since 9/11. As a Marine who served in Iraq, I don't need a price tag to tell you about the cost of our wars. I've seen for myself the amputations, traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and moral injury that lead to massively disproportionate levels of suicide, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence and homelessness in vets returned home from war. And I've witnessed the human cost of our wars beyond our borders.
What My Service in Iraq Cost
Matthew Hoh / Win Without War
WASHINGTON (November 11, 2017) -- $5.6 trillion, with no end in sight. That's the cost of America's wars since 9/11.
But as a Marine who served in Iraq, I don't need a price tag to tell you about the cost of our wars for veterans like me. I've seen for myself the amputations, traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and moral injury that all lead to massively disproportionate levels of suicide, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence and homelessness in veterans returned home from war.
And I've witnessed the human cost of our wars beyond our borders, in Iraq where I was stationed and for millions around the world.
Today, Veterans Day parades will celebrate the bravery of servicemembers, and I will be remembering those who were alongside me overseas. But before Cold War hysteria took over, November 11th was Armistice Day -- a day for peace.
The original Armistice Day marchers, veterans who survived the killing fields of the First World War, carried banners declaring "Never Again." Imagine if we had listened to those veterans. Instead, our country continues to pour troops into stupid, bloated, and deadly wars.
That's not honoring or respecting veterans. That's putting war profits and reckless ideologies over our lives.
$5.6 trillion by next September works out to $310 billion per year to prop up our endless wars. That's $23,386 per taxpayer per year. Slice it however you want, it's an incomprehensibly massive number. And instead of asking ourselves if a single penny is worth it, we just keep freefalling into gargantuan war debt.
As for the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical costs of my time at war -- we won't ever pay those off. Neither will the friends I remember today who died for a country that won't acknowledge the cost of their loss. Neither will our families and communities who continue to shoulder the burdens of our service long after we leave the battlefield.
That's why Rep. John Lewis is speaking up to demand a public, national conversation on war financing. His amendment to Trump's tax bill would prohibit cutting taxes on the rich -- a loss of revenue that would add right onto our pile of war debt -- until we get our troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and eliminate the war deficit gobbling up our budget.
ACTION: Please join me in supporting Rep. John Lewis' call to honor our veterans by accounting for the human, moral, and financial costs of war. Add your name to support Rep. Lewis' amendment and ask Congress to address the costs of war.
Thank you for all you do,
Win Without War is a project of the Center for International Policy.
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) / US House of Representatives
(November 11, 2017) -- Veterans Day is special to me. It's a day when I often get to spend time with fellow veterans from many different generations, share stories, and remember our brothers and sisters who never made that long trip home. We will never forget.
Senator Mazie Hirono and I worked together for years on legislation that finally awards the well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Filipino veterans -- legislation that Barack Obama signed into law as one of his final acts as president.
Last month, Mazie and I welcomed many of these veterans to the US Capitol, where we presented this long-overdue recognition to heroes like Sixto Tabay, the last living WWII Filipino veteran on Kauaʻi, and around 200,000 others who served.
Recently, I hosted a screening of the film "Go for Broke: Origins" at the US Capitol in honor of the 100th Infantry Battalion / 442nd Regimental Combat Team, units created in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which were made up of young Japanese-American men who volunteered to serve in the US Army, despite facing bigotry and prejudice as their families and loved ones were thrown into internment camps.
Our late Senator Daniel Inouye is featured in the film as a young man who volunteered to fight for freedom alongside thousands of others. Through their courage, valor, and sacrifice, the 442nd became the most highly decorated unit in Army history.
I could share so many stories of the courage and sacrifice displayed by the men and women that I had the privilege of serving with during my deployments to the Middle East. People of all walks of life -- different religions, races, political ideologies, and more -- all setting aside differences and coming together with one common goal: service to our country.
It is this selflessness by our nation's veterans that should inspire us all this Veterans Day -- and every day. They have shown us through their example and their lives what 'service and sacrifice' really means, and how we can all find ways to set aside our own differences, respect and treat each other with aloha, and work together for the good of our communities, our country, and humanity.
Mahalo for your aloha and support. Today, let us reflect on how we can honor our nation's veterans by living aloha and being of service in our own lives.
What I'm Thinking about This Veterans Day
Hon. Elizabeth Warren / US Senate
(November 11, 2017) -- One of the first people to come see me in Washington after I got elected to the Senate -- back before we had a real office and were working out of a clunky trailer -- was a Boston locksmith named Joe.
At the time, Joe was the president of the Massachusetts Chapter 1 of Rolling Thunder, an organization dedicated to fully accounting for American prisoners of war and servicemembers who are still missing in action. He came to my office that day because he had one goal: to honor their sacrifices.
Joe laid out his plan for me, and his passion lit up our little trailer. He wanted to place an honorary chair on the grounds of the US Capitol. The chair would remain empty, a constant reminder of America's prisoners of war and service members who remain missing.
These chairs were already showing up in unexpected places. You'll find one at the Massachusetts State House, Gillette Stadium, the TD Garden and Fenway Park. Similar POW/MIA chairs can be found at arenas, theaters and government buildings across the country. But not on Capitol Hill.
So that day, I promised Joe that we were going to fight to get it done. I worked with Senator Marco Rubio to introduce a bill to establish a POW/MIA Chair of Honor on the US Capitol grounds. Yes, believe or not, this was truly a bipartisan effort -- when Democrats and Republicans work together, we can still get things done.
Our bill received powerful support from Rolling Thunder National, the National League of POW/MIA Families, and the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen. We couldn't have won without their voices speaking out and fighting for it.
And last year, that bill Joe came to see me about became law.
On Wednesday, leaders from both parties (including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan) came together and held a beautiful ceremony unveiling the commemorative chair in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall. Joe wasn't able to make the trip -- but his Rolling Thunder friends rode down from Massachusetts to see Joe's vision come to life.
Veterans Day has always been an important day in my family. All three of my big brothers served in the military. I remember my mother running back from the mailbox with a note from David, who trained as an emergency medic at Fort Sam Houston -- or John, who did a tour in North Africa. And she held her breath for word from Don Reed, who completed 288 combat missions in Vietnam.
The letters kept coming home, and my brothers came home too. But the heartbreaking reality is that many families aren't so lucky. Today, there are tens of thousands of service members still missing in action, many from World War II, and more than 1,600 from the Vietnam War. They haven't returned home to us, but they will never be forgotten.
This Veterans Day, as we honor all those who have served our country, I hope you'll join me in pausing to remember those who have yet to return home from past wars, and the families who still check the mail everyday. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.
Thanks for being a part of this,
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